The first postseason event of the Hologic WTA Tour season kicks off next week at the Huafa Technology WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai.
With a round-robin format featuring an in-form field that includes San Diego champion Barbora Krejcikova, Zhengzhou champion Zheng Qinwen, Tokyo champion Veronika Kudermetova and Beijing finalist Liudmila Samsonova, here's what you need to know about the tour's return to Zhuhai:
When is the tournament?
The Huafa Technology WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai is an end-of-season tournament held in Zhuhai, China. The round-robin event is composed of 12 singles players and six doubles teams. The 11 highest ranked singles players who do not qualify for the WTA Finals automatically qualify for the Elite Trophy (participation is optional for the WTA Finals alternates and players qualified in doubles for the WTA Finals), with one additional spot allotted to a wild card.
This will be the sixth edition of the tournament. The first was held in 2015. The tournament is an outdoor hard-court event played at the Zhuhai Hengqin International Tennis Centre. The Yonex Tour Platinum ball will be used.
Round-robin play begins on Tuesday, Oct. 24.
What is the format?
The singles competition is a 12-player draw with 11 direct entries and 1 wild card competing in a round-robin format. Players will be divided into four groups of three players. The winner of each group advances to a single elimination format semifinals and final.
The doubles competition is a six-team draw with four direct entries and two wild cards competing in a round-robin format with two groups of teams. The winner of each group advances to the final.
When are the finals?
The finals will be played on Sunday, Oct. 29. The doubles final will be played at 1 p.m., followed by the singles final at 3:30 p.m.
Who won it last?
This is the first staging of the WTA Elite Trophy since 2019. That year, No.4 seed Aryna Sabalenka beat top seed Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-2 in the final.
Lyudmyla Kichenok and Andreja Klepač won the doubles title, defeating Duan Yingying and Yang Zhaoxuan 6-3, 6-3.
Former singles champions of the tournament include Venus Williams, Petra Kvitova, Ashleigh Barty and Julia Goerges.
Who is playing?
Singles players, by seeding
1. Barbora Krejcikova
2. Madison Keys
3. Jelena Ostapenko
4. Veronika Kudermetova
5. Liudmila Samsonova
6. Daria Kasatkina
7. Beatriz Haddad Maia
8. Zheng Qinwen
9. Caroline Garcia
10. Donna Vekic
11. Magda Linette
12. Zhu Lin (WC)
Doubles Teams, by seeding
1. Veronika Kudermetova/Beatriz Haddad Maia
2. Aldila Sutjiadi/Miyu Kato
3. Marie Bouzkova/Sara Sorribes Tormo
4. Ulrikke Eikeri/Lyudmyla Kichenok
5. Xu Yifan/Wang Xiyu (WC)
6. Jiang Xinyu/Tang Qianhui (WC)
Who has been drawn into which groups?
Groups have been drawn at the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai. The winner of each group advances to the semifinals.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) October 23, 2023
Azalea: Krejcikova, Kasatkina, Linette
Camellia: Keys, Haddad Maia, Garcia
Orchid: Ostapenko, Zheng Qinwen, Vekic
Rose: Samsonova, Kudermetova, Zhu Lin pic.twitter.com/ved0GqHgzd
Top seed Krejcikova leads the Azalea group, where she has been drawn with No.17 Kasatkina and Australian Open semifinalist Linette. Krejcikova is a combined 5-1 against her group, with the sole loss coming against Kasatkina at the start of this year in Adelaide.
No.11 Keys tops the Camellia group with Brazil's Haddad Maia and last year's WTA Finals champion Garcia. Keys, who has played one tournament since making the US Open semifinals, holds a 4-1 advantage over Garcia and has yet to face Haddad Maia on the Hologic WTA Tour.
The Orchid group features No.13 Ostapenko, No.18 Zheng Qinwen, and No.24 Vekic. The home favorite, Zheng, is the hot hand in this group after winning her second title of the season in Zhengzhou. She is 2-0 against Ostapenko, but Vekic has won their only prior meeting. Vekic is also 1-0 in her career against Ostapenko.
The final group features Beijing finalist Samsonova, Tokyo champion Kudermetova and wild card Zhu Lin.
What is the prize money and rankings points on offer?
Ranking points: Singles players receive 40 points for each round-robin match they play and an additional 80 points for each round-robin match they win. Finalists receive an additional 200 points on top of their round-robin tally. The champion receives an additional 460 points on top of the round-robin tally.
Doubles teams do not receive ranking points.
Prize money: The tournament will offer over $2.4 million in total prize money. A player or teams' prize money depends on a combination of the number of matches contested, won and success in the knockout rounds.
A singles player can win up to $220,000 during round-robin play if they go undefeated. Advancing to the semifinals nets an additional $17,000. The runner-up will take an additional $165,000 and champion an additional $385,000. An undefeated run to the title would pay out $605,000.
Doubles teams will receive $20,000 as a participation fee, with an additional $6,000 for each round-robin victory. The runner-up team will take an additional $12,000, with the champions taking home $23,000.